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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Sammy Sosa: 21 should be retired

ESPNChicago.com

Former slugger Sammy Sosa used a live webcast Wednesday to indicate he is open to reconnecting with the Chicago Cubs, and said the team should have retired his jersey number "a long time ago."

Sosa This is a good number that I carried for 14 years (actually 13) in Chicago, and I represented that number, so that number should have been retired a long time ago.

-- Ex-Cubs OF Sammy Sosa

"I think that is something that I'm looking for," Sosa said of the prospect of having his No. 21 retired. "That is something I want to happen. I'm kind of surprised it didn't happen before, but time will determine everything. When that happens, I would be more comfortable and more happy. I will be there with all my family.

"This is a good number that I carried for 14 years (actually 13) in Chicago, and I represented that number, so that number should have been retired a long time ago."

During the Cubs Convention on Saturday, owner Tom Ricketts indicated he might be open to reaching out to Sosa and repairing the relationship with the former slugger, who hit 609 home runs in 18 major league seasons.

"When we got here there wasn't much communication, and we really haven't focused on it," said Ricketts, whose family bought the Cubs in 2009, five years after Sosa's last season with the team. "Maybe it's an issue we pick up this year."

The Cubs and Sosa had an ugly split after a 13-year run that included a team-record 545 home runs and three seasons of 60-plus homers. He was caught with a corked bat in 2003, reportedly left Wrigley Field early during the last game of the 2004 season, and a New York Times story reported Sosa was on the 2003 list of players that flunked a test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Sosa received only 12 percent of the vote for the Hall of Fame this year, his first on the ballot. For the first time since 1996, no players were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, which kept out steroid-tainted stars such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sosa.

Asked if he believes he and McGwire should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Sosa said: "I think so. I'm not going to come here and say anything that is going to jeopardize my future, but definitely time will determine everything. Now whatever it is, it is. I am not anybody to go out there and say anything that I don't have to say. I'm waiting for my time. I'm the type of person that I don't like the controversy."

If there is a return to the Cubs for Sosa, he says it won't be as a coach -- for now.

"The way that I dress says everything," said Sosa, who was wearing a blue sport coat while sitting behind a desk at his office on the webcast. "My life, my career has been such a great career that I believe that my ability is not to be a coach. No offense. Maybe one day, we never know. But right now, I have two beautiful companies with Riverhead Homes and Injex 21, which is moving forward very strongly.

"That's the way that I feel I can be on my life. Going back to the field, maybe in the future when we have an opportunity maybe with Chicago again down the road I'd probably change my mind. But, right now, I'm comfortable here and I like it."

Sosa is a managing member of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Injex 21, which specializes in injections that don't use needles.